Friday, February 11, 2005

G-8 Protest in Geneva

When I first visited Geneva in September 2003 the first thing that struck me about the city was the widespread political graffiti. It was everywhere- office walls, makeshift construction walls, traffic signs, pedestrian crossings, subways...The messages that were expressed ranged from opposition to the G-8, to freeing Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, to bringing down the capitalist machine, to simply fucking Bush. More than an year later I discover that graffiti may not be the norm in this so called "international" city. Based on online news reports I conclude that the graffiti that I found were the telltale signs of huge protests that occured in Geneva several months prior to my arrival. These protests were spurred by the G-8 meeting in Evian, France in June 2003. According to the BBC, the French authorities had imposed air-tight security on the roads to and from Evian and the general region. So one of the closest and most prominent places that protestors could make themselves visible was across the border in Geneva, Suisse. They seemed to have been very well organized and the Swiss police were at a loss at containing them and had to resort to requesting police cadres from Germany. The presence of anarchist groups among the protestors were evident from the looting and vandalism that went on during that period. I saw further evidence of anarchist involvement in the scripts of the graffiti, which were often marked by the symbol of anarchists. The protests were apparently specifically levelled at the plutocrats of the world order, represented by the G-8, who in the protestors' eyes were hurting the developing countries. However, it seems that many more issues were tied in to this particular movement. An interesting comparison would be the events that transpired at the "Battle in Seattle" where save the turtles activists marched alongside Free Tibet activists. I hope to do more research into this phenomenon by maybe taking an infrapolitical approach to the issue.


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